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Electric Cars Cut Greenhouse Gases Even More Than Expected, NASA Says

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Ford Fusion Energi charging.

Ford Fusion Energi charging.

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A trial program with electric cars at the Kennedy Space Center is going better than expected, cutting greenhouse gas emissions in company vehicles.

In fact, the center's sustainability office suggests the results are 10 times better than those expected--electric cars are making a real impact on-site.

According to redOrbit, the Kennedy Space Center is working with ten employees who commute in electric vehicles daily and plug in at the center's charging stations.

The electricity is free to use, the only requirement that plug-in car-driving employees fill in a spreadsheet detailing how far they travel each day, and the road and traffic conditions.

The impact on greenhouse gas emissions is being calculated based on how much electricity the cars are using when plugged-in.

So far, the cost of all that electricity is much lower than expected. In three months, it's only cost $148 in electricity. The distance traveled has prevented 15,000 pounds of carbon dioxide from being released, compared to the equivalent gasoline vehicle.

Over the course of a year, and with just ten drivers, that amounts to 60,000 pounds.

MORE: Greenhouse Gases & Where They Really Come From: Infographic

Those figures take into account that generation of electricity releases CO2 into the air, so those are net savings, rather than tailpipe emission comparisons.

Were the center's 8,000 employees all to drive plug-in vehicles, the overall greenhouse gas emission savings would be huge--and the cost of charging all those vehicles far from prohibitive, based on early results.

NASA is aiming for a 12.3 percent reduction in emissions by 2020. Part of that figure includes sources not directly controlled by the agency--everything from its workers' commutes to the emissions of an airliner carrying an employee to a meeting elsewhere in the world.

It all hinges on setting up the infrastructure and getting people to plug-in--and to its credit, NASA seems very keen to get those wheels turning.

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